Baku, April 8, AZERTAC
The first ever fossilised remains of a dinosaur that was killed on the day a massive asteroid struck Earth 66 million years ago have been unearthed by palaeontologists.
They discovered the leg of a Thescelosaurus – a small herbivore – alongside a fragment of the seven mile-wide space rock that killed it.
Experts believe the limb, complete with skin, was likely 'ripped off' when the Chicxulub asteroid hit and caused a flash flood.
The creature is thought to have been 'buried on the day of impact'.
Its fossilised leg was unearthed alongside a series of remarkable finds at the Tanis fossil site in the US State of North Dakota.
Palaeontologists say it is the first discovery of a dinosaur victim from the famous asteroid strike, which left a 93-mile-wide impact crater in what is today the Gulf of Mexico.
They also think they have uncovered a tiny fragment from the space rock that ended the era of the dinosaurs and led to the rise of mammals.
The discoveries were made by University of Manchester palaeontologist Robert DePalma at a famous dig site called Tanis, found in 2008 and nicknamed 'the dinosaur graveyard'.
They could provide the first ever physical evidence that dinosaurs were killed by an asteroid strike at the end of the Cretaceous Period.
Very few dinosaur remains have been found in the rocks that record even the several thousand years before the impact, so to discover a fossil from the day of destruction itself would be extraordinary.
A new BBC documentary presented by Sir David Attenborough to be aired next week will reveal several new findings at Tanis.
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